City tenders sanitation worker’s case to DA, suspends director
Following a lengthy closed-door executive session at Tuesday’s Starkville Board of Aldermen meeting, one city employee could soon face criminal prosecution and another was temporarily suspended without pay.
The board voted 5-2 to tender the case of city sanitation worker Courtney Ross to District Attorney Scott Colom's office for consideration for criminal prosecution. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 3 Alderman David Little voted against.
A motion was also given to reject Ross’ resignation dated April 10, 2017, and immediately terminate his employment with the city. The motion passed unanimously.
In addition to Ross potentially facing criminal charges, the board also voted 5-2 to suspend Director of Sanitation and Environmental Services Emma Gandy without pay for five business days - from April 19 through April 25, effective immediately.
Carver and Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker voted against suspending Gandy.
It is unclear at this time what spurred the incident in question, with no further details or comments provided by the board regarding the potential criminal case involving Ross or Gandy’s suspension. It is also uncertain if there is a connection between the two incidents.
Aldermen unanimously gave the green light to a change order to add 23 days to the renovation project for the new downtown headquarters for the Starkville Police Department.
The change order is aimed at allowing more time to install IT cabling and furniture. The original completion date was May 20, which had been announced at a previous meeting.
SPD Chief Frank Nichols told the SDN the department would rather wait a little less than a month and get into an A1 building than to get into something of a lesser quality.
“It’s necessary,” he said. “We are still looking forward and are anxious about getting the new building. It was delayed a little less than a month, but we have a positive outlook on everything.”
Aldermen also approved the City of Starkville Claims Docket for all departments including the Starkville Utilities Department as of April 12, 2017, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2017.
The vote on the claims docket was 5-2 in favor, with Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn, Sr., voting against the motion.